Zhou Xiaochan, China's central bank governorClearly, China’s interest rate cut on Friday was motivated by a desire to manage a flagging growth story. But the announcement also revealed a few sub-plots, which together may say more about Beijing’s mindset than the dominant narrative.

The first point, several analysts said, is that Beijing’s monetary easing may well have further to run, following the decision by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) to cut its benchmark lending rate by 0.4 percentage points to 5.6 per cent, while cutting its deposit rate by 0.25 per cent to 2.75 per cent. Read more

Mexico’s government has bowed to the inevitable and cut its 2014 GDP growth forecast, to between 2.1 and 2.6 per cent this year, despite hailing a pick-up in activity in the third quarter that it said should continue throughout the rest of the year.

No big surprise there – growth has been disappointing all year so the writing has long been on the wall. And indeed owing to a change in methodology (more on this shortly), the government is keeping its options open with a new range-based forecast. For 2015, its estimate is 3.2 to 4.2 per cent. The growth goal for 2015 in the budget was 3.7 per cent.

But is there a silver lining to all these cuts? Read more

Among the many woes afflicting Venezuela, one of the most pressing is the rapid decline in its reserves of hard currency. These fell from some $29bn at the start of 2013 to a low of about $19bn last week. But Beijing’s generous hand has since boosted them to $23.5bn, according to the central bank.

The fall in reserves had raised concerns about Venezuela’s ability to pay its debts, so the influx brought some relief to rattled markets, fuelling a small rally off recent lows in Venezuelan bonds, which remain among the highest yielding in the world.

But is the influx all it appears to be? Read more

Short of expectations for now but holding out hope for the future. That seems to be the best that can be said of Croatia’s first offshore oil and gas exploration tender, which closed for bidding this month.

Full results of the auctions, including the identity of the bidders, have yet to be made public, although the organisers said 15 of the 29 blocks on offer received bids. One person involved told beyondbrics they came from three bidders: INA, Croatia’s own national oil company; a consortium formed by OMV of Austria and Marathon Oil Corporation of the US; and a consortium of Eni of Italy, MedOil of the UK and a third unidentified company. Read more

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In spite of Mikhail Gorbachev’s warning this month that the world is on the brink of a new Cold War, it is Asia that we should be worrying about, says former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. The region is home to seven flashpoints which, if they erupt, could end the greatest economic growth story of the 21st century.

“We face this remarkable set of circumstances where global growth will be driven from Asia,” Rudd told beyondbrics in a recent interview in Dubai.“But Asia from a political perspective is a potentially unstable region. So the world [should have] a deep interest in not just the future growth trajectory, but also the political and security circumstances which underpin that equation.” Read more

Timothy AshBy Timothy Ash of Standard Bank

The media will be focusing on the one year anniversary of the Maydan, what has changed, and whether it was all really worth it. Here is my two penneth worth.

It it easy to be critical and say little has really changed. But Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its intervention in eastern Ukraine have provided a cruel head wind. Most Ukrainians, I would wager, would argue that these developments were not of their making and, as a sovereign and independent country now since 1991, i.e. for 23 years, they have a right to self determination and to not be bullied by east or west over their choices of geopolitical orientation. Read more

Anything you can do, we can do better.

Malaysian policymakers might not be fans of the hit song from the musical Annie, but they’re acting as if they are, fast FT reports.

Days after Indonesia’s new president, Joko Widodo, lowered fuel subsidies – resulting in a 31 per cent rise in petrol and 36 per cent rise diesel prices – Malaysia has gone a step further. Read more

By Melissa Stark, Accenture

A lot has been written about the shale gas and oil boom in the US and why that model cannot be replicated in other countries with plentiful potential resources. In fact, this does not have to be the case.

We have done extensive analysis on the potential for shale development outside of the US, from Western to Eastern Europe, across Asia Pacific, Latin America and even South Africa. The biggest advantage that countries like Argentina, Saudi Arabia and China have over the others is a strong, government-backed national oil company (NOC). Read more

When Indian activist Kailash Satyarthi (pictured) won the Nobel Peace Prize last month it was a moment of great pride for civil society in India, not least because of a recent face-off between the new government and NGOs, especially the environmental group Greenpeace.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi swept to power this year on a pledge to cut red tape and speed up decision making, winning favour with industrialists across the country. But many campaigners are more sceptical of the new pro-business administration. Read more

** FT News **

* Demand for Alibaba’s bonds hits $55bn | Chinese ecommerce group raises $8bn from maiden debt sale

* Chinese SUV sparks JLR claims of copycat | Landwind’s X7 bears a striking resemblance to Jaguar Land Rover’s wildly successful Evoque Read more

By Gavin Bowring, Asean Confidential

By most accounts, Kyrgyzstan’s Dordoi Bazaar, which lies on the outskirts of the capital Bishkek and just 10km from the border with Kazakhstan, is one of Asia’s largest wholesale and retail markets, directly employing at least 50,000 people, and contributing significantly to Kyrgyzstan’s thriving garment industry, which accounts for an additional 150,000 jobs in a country of 5.8m.

A bewildering labyrinth of stalls and warehouses made from tens of thousands of stacked shipping containers, the market serves primarily as a re-export hub for a wide range of cheap Chinese consumer goods, textiles, and machinery (accounting for roughly 70-80 per cent of sales) to the major neighbouring markets of Kazakhstan, Russia, and Uzbekistan. Read more

All change: After a leadership conflict that sent shares tanking, Mexican bank Banorte, the country’s fourth biggest by loans, has a new chairman and CEO.

Replacing Guillermo Ortiz, a former finance minister and central bank governor, as chairman is Carlos Hank González, grandson of the former controlling shareholder “Don Roberto”. Mr Hank’s ascent was in the works for months and triggered the change of command, while also boosting the family dynasty’s influence over the lender in which it is the largest shareholder. Read more

The plot thickens over the choice of Brazil’s next finance minister.

On Thursday, business daily Valor Econômico reported that President Dilma Rousseff had invited Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi, head of the non-government bank Bradesco, to replace Guido Mantega next year. According to the newspaper, Rousseff met with Lázaro Brandão, president of Bradesco’s board, on Tuesday this week to discuss the matter. With Brandão on side, it would make it easier for Trabuco to accept the position and then return to the bank in the future, the daily said. Read more

Beyondbrics recently warned that spiralling interest payments on hard currency bonds might yet cause EM corporates a big headache. The pain may be drawing closer: the recent slide of Asian currencies against the dollar looks even worse when you strip out the renminbi, which is holding its own, and the Japanese yen.

There could be a serious knock-on effect on domestic banks if firms are forced to loot cash deposits to meet debt repayments. Read more

South Africa’s new central bank governor took centre stage on Thursday, but the story was a familiar tale of caution and bleak growth for Africa’s most developed nation.

After heading his first monetary policy committee meeting, Lesetja Kganyago said the decision was taken to keep the bank’s repo rate on hold at 5.75 per cent.

Kganyago took up his post earlier this month, replacing Gill Marcus, who announced in September that she would not be seeking a second five year term. But little changed in the language and detailed delivery of the last MPC statement of the year. Read more